Ned Ward

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Ned Ward, engraving by Michael Vandergucht

Ned Ward, also known as Edward Ward (b. 1660 or 1667 in Oxfordshire, England; † 20 June 1731 in London, England) was an English satirist, author and publican in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.


There is little information about Ward’s origins and youth. Theophilus Cibber calls him a man of low birth who never enjoyed a regular education. In 1691 he published his first book in London, in which he laments his poverty and the fact that he cannot earn an income from his writing. He had a success in 1698 with a book about his trip to the port city of Port Royal in the English colony of Jamaica in the West Indies. This was followed by an account, A Trip to New England, of a journey he had never made himself.

His greatest success in the London literary world of the time was The London Spy, which was published in 18 monthly installments beginning in November 1698. His later printed descriptions of conditions in London and in the England of his time were each marketed as having been written by the author of The London Spy.

Political commitment

From 1698 Ward championed the interests of the so-called High Church within the Anglican Church of England. From 1705 to 1707, he published 24 monthly issues of his work Hudibras Redivivus, in which he attacked the ruling class in England, the Whigs. As a result, he was accused, among other things, of insulting Queen Anne and was therefore imprisoned twice in 1706 and even pilloried twice in London, once at the Royal Exchange and again at Charing Cross.


With the accession of George I, Ward’s comments on political issues became milder. His works were more concerned with his personal experiences as a tavern keeper and with descriptions of London or other cities in England. These were widely read even in the English colonies in North America, so much so that the influential Puritan Boston clergyman Cotton Mather warned against reading them in 1726

From 1717 to 1730 he ran the Bacchus Tavern in the Moorfields district of London. At the turn of 1729/1730 he took over The British Coffee House at Fullwood’s Rents near Gray’s Inn.


It is not certain whether Ward was ever married under the law. However, an obituary includes the names of his wife and children. His remains were interred in St Pancras churchyard, Middlesex.


  • 1691: The Poet’s Ramble after Riches.
  • 1695: Female Policy Detected, or, The Arts of a Designing Woman.
  • 1698: A Trip to Jamaica.
  • from 1698: The London Spy.
    • New edition by Kenneth Fenwick, The Folio Society, London 1955.
  • 1698: Sot’s Paradise.
  • from 1698: Ecclesia et factio.
  • 1699: A Trip to New England. With a Character of the Country and People, Both English and Indians.
  • 1700: A Trip to Bath.
  • 1700: A Trip to Stourbridge.
  • from 1705: Hudibras Redivivus.
  • 17111/1712: Don Quixotte
  • 1720: The Delights of the Bottle.
  • 1724: The Dancing Devils or: The Roaring Dragon, A. Bettesworth, London.


  • Howard William Troyer: Ned Ward of Grub Street: A Study of Sub-literary London in the Eighteenth Century. London 1946 and 1968.
  • Fritz-Wilhelm Neumann: Ned Ward’s London. Secularization, Culture and Capitalism around 1700. Wilhelm Fink Verlag, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-7705-4992-4.

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